Brazil v Chile: Expert v Expert preview


Brazil and Chile clash in the last 16 in Belo Horizonte and the hopes of a nation seem to rest of Neymar's shoulders. Experts Jack Lang   and Joel Sked  preview this must-win tie.

TEAM NEWS

Jack Lang on Brazil: Common consensus is that it is time for Luiz Felipe Scolari to stray from the XI that served him so well at the Confederations Cup last summer. While Fred will keep his place after finally opening his World Cup account against Cameroon, central midfielder Paulinho is likely to pay the price for his sleepy recent displays. Manchester City man Fernandinho, who scored off the bench on Monday, is expected to start in his place. Dani Alves is also under threat, with Maicon waiting in the wings.

Joel Sked on Chile: There are no injury worries and it is expected that boss Jorge Sampaoli will make two changes from the term that lost to Netherlands as he reverts to the one that started against Australia: Bravo; Isla, Medel, Jara, Mena; Díaz, Aránguiz, Vidal; Valdivia, Sánchez and Vargas. In terms of the attacking side of the game Sampaoli was left frustrated after the Netherlands defeat but the indotrcton of Vidal and Valdivia will give La Roja extra impetus. A brave decision moving to a back four as the team have conceded all three of the goals when playing four in defence.

FORM

Jack Lang: Brazil’s match against Cameroon was a classic game of two halves. In the first, the Seleção were every bit as sluggish as they had been in the goalless draw with Mexico. With the midfield struggling, David Luiz became something of a quarter-back, lofting long, diagonal passes to Hulk and Neymar. Only with the entrance of Fernandinho did Brazil find their rhythm. The second half was Brazil’s best 45 minutes of the tournament so far, which bodes well for this game.

Joel Sked: While they controlled the majority of possession against Netherlands they could not find a way through with Jasper Cillessen having a quiet afternoon in the Dutch goal. Holland's defensive tactics were criticised by the Chile squad and Jorge Sampaoli, while there were also groans about the refereeing. But it came down to Chile not being good enough to penetrate an obdurate Dutch system with the goals coming after Sampaoli had made a couple of changes as he chased the game. La Roja do not have a good record against Brazil with only four competitive victories. They were knocked out of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups at the second round stage by Brazil.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS

Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari: “I managed Brazil against Chile twice, so I know how good they are. They have a lot of quality. If I could choose, I would choose another opponent. South American sides are always tough.”

Chile's Jorge Sampaoli: “Any opponent that we face will be difficult. There are some things we need to polish but it doesn't affect the group because they are convinced in the manner in which they have to play.”

KEY MAN

Jack Lang: Do you really need to ask? Neymar showed his quality once again against Cameroon, keeping Brazil in the game single-handedly in the opening stages with two goals. The second, a lightning dribble and smart finish, was particularly memorable, and certainly captured the imagination of the crowd at Brasilia’s Estadio Nacional. If Brazil are to progress further, the 22-year-old will again be key.

Joel Sked: The man being tasked with keeping tabs on Neymar is Juventus wing-back Mauricio Isla. The 26-year-old has not had a great season with Juve, with a number of mediocre performances in the Europa League. That form has carried on in the red of Chile so Sampaoli will expect and need a much improved and alert Isla if Chile are going to find their way into the quarter-final. Brazil have themselves looked average bar the mercurial Neymar who has notched four goals in three games.

BEST BET

Jack Lang: Both teams to score at 1.85. Brazil’s defence, so solid in the last couple of years, has looked vulnerable in this tournament, especially down the flanks. Chile, with their marauding wing-backs and nippy forwards, should be able to find the net, even if they come up just short in the end.

Joel Sked: Over 4.5 goals at 5.75. Chile have not yet been involved in what is a typical match for them. Their tempo dropped after 20 minutes against Australia, Spain were a shadow of the side people have come to expect and Netherlands played with a back five as they only needed a draw to top the group. Brazil will have to attack as the crowd will command so. Chile won't compromise and will attack. It will be an open game with space behind and to the sides of both defences.

SCORE PREDICTION

Jack Lang: Brazil 2-1 Chile (9.00)

Joel Sked: Brazil 3-2 Chile (25.00)

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